The album to the new movie by award wining director and actor, Zach Braff, is a comfortable ride of non-descript nostalgia. Wish I Was Here is the spiritual sequal to the acclaimed 2004 classic, Garden State, also by Zach Braff. Where in Garden State Braff explored his thoughts on growing up and revisiting his childhood, in the latest delivery he explores themes around adulthood and family. The movie was partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign that Braff launched. 46000 people decided to back the project, which allowed the production to raise $3.1m in contributions, a big milestone for indie films.
As A Soundtrack
The album has a couple of familiar names on the back, like The Shins, Bon Iver and Paul Simon to name a few. The soundtrack has already gathered quite a lot of attention and might walk in the footsteps of the Garden State OST which earned a Grammy and went platinum. In addition to writing, direction and acting in Wish I Was Here, Braff also curated the music for the film.
The most memorable track from the Garden State OST is “New Slang” by The Shins, so it seems fitting that a nostalgic man like Braff will return to what he knows and use “So Now What” by The Shins as the movie’s anthem. Coldplay also makes a returning appearance by writing the title track, “Wish I Was Here”, but having it performed by Cat Power. Bon Iver is a refreshing addition to the album and features on two tracks. “Holocene” is taken from the band`s self-titled album, and perfectly compliments the sincerity of the other tracks on the album. “Heavenly Father” is something completely different, rolling in with a pulsing electronic loop, coloured with Justin Vernon’s layered vocals and biting lyrics.
Unfortunately, the rest of the album does very little to strengthen the aforementioned songs. Most of the bland acoustic tracks in-between the familiar songs serve as a distraction rather than a reaffirment of what Braff is trying to say. As a whole, the album more resembles Braff’s personal mixtape than a cohesive movie soundtrack.
By watching the trailer and other interviews, it seems that the movie will be exploring organised religion as both a hindrance and a foothold in adulthood. I for one am very excited to see what the movie delivers and will be putting the album on repeat whenever I have dinner guests over.